The Garden Guide

Book: Colour schemes for the flower garden
Chapter: Chapter 8 The flower border in August

Reserve plants

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Now is the time to begin to use our reserve of plants in pots. Of these the most useful are the Hydrangeas. They are dropped into any vacant spaces, more or less in groups, in the two ends of the border where there is grey foliage, their pale pink colouring agreeing with these places. Their own leafage is a rather bright green, but we get them so well bloomed that but few leaves are seen, and we arrange as cleverly as we can that the rest shall be more or less hidden by the surrounding bluish foliage. I stand a few paces off, directing the formation of the groups; considering their shape in relation to the border as a whole. I say to the gardener that I want a Hydrangea in such a place, and tell him to find the nearest place where it can be dropped in. Sometimes this dropping in, for the pots have to be partly sunk, comes in the way of some established plant. If it is a deep-rooted perennial that takes three or four years to come to its strength, like an Eryngium or a Dictamnus, of course I avoid encroaching on its root-room. But if it is a thing that blooms the season after it is planted, and of which I have plenty in reserve, such as an Anthemis, a Tradescantia, or a Helenium, I sacrifice a portion of the plant-group, knowing that it can easily be replaced. But then by August many of the plants have spread widely above and there is space below. Lilium longiflorum in pots is used in the same way, and for the most part in this blue end of the border, though there are also some at the further, purple end, and just a flash of their white beauty in the middle region of strong reds.